SALMON WELLINGTON

I have the great pleasure of introducing another guest post by my beloved husband!

Although I’d like to say that Beef Wellington is everyone’s festive delicacy, that’s surely a falsehood, because for many, many people filet of beef is a profanity, and its accoutrement, foie gras, is an atrocity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but  Sally and I don’t share those sentiments. We love the Wellingon! We love it so much that we sought other variants.  The one that we found, or in this case it’s even fair to say “invented,” is Salmon Wellington. Concocting a salmon Wellington is a bit like making an exquisite ham sandwich: you can garnish it with cheese or mustard or lettuce, or all three and more.   So, we created our own variation of the dish, that includes Alaskan snow crab and a phyllo dough shell.  It’s a light, …(OK, lighter)  and a fresh experience that’s still rich with flavor.
plated111SALMON WELLINGTON
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 pieces of center-cut filet of salmon, skin removed
1/2 cup of Alaskan crab meat, cooked and shredded
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
1 celery stalk, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp fresh dill, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
melted butter

Heat the oil in a small skillet and saute the shallots and celery in medium-low heat until translucent and fragrant, about 4 minutes.  Add the lemon zest and turn the heat off.  Transfer to a small bowl and allow it to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.   Mix the veggies with cooked crab meat, add the ginger and dill, mix well and season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the fish,  buy a thick piece of  fresh atlantic or wild salmon and cut it into 3″ by 4″ pieces, or a bit larger if you desire.   Remove the skin with a sharp knife (I prefer a ceramic knife for this) and carefully scrape away the central vein of dark, oily meat.  Rinse the filet under running water and dry it on paper towels.

Open the sheets of phyllo dough, 2 at a time, and brush them lightly with melted butter (you can also use olive oil if you prefer). Lay 6 sheets on top of each other and place half of the crab mixture over the center, leaving a large border all around.  Try to spread the crab mixture to cover more or less the same area that the salmon will occupy.   Lay the salmon filet on top, season with salt and pepper, and squeeze a small amount of lemon juice over it.  Wrap the phyllo dough around the filet.  Invert the package, so that the crab is on top, and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cut away any excess dough.  Brush a little melted butter on top of the phyllo, and bake at 375 F for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

composite

Comments:  As Phil said, we LOVE the Wellington, it is probably our “signature dish”, the one we turn to when we want to make a special meal. In fact, it was the first recipe we cooked together when we started dating, we even made the puff pastry from scratch.  Fun times… ;-) This variation is quickly becoming my favorite, though. Salmon and phyllo dough make a winning combination, and the crab meat doesn’t hurt either.  Over the years,  we’ve made Salmon Wellington with many different toppings. Once, while living in Paris we made it for our Valentine’s dinner.  Phil came up with a topping using a citric fruit similar to clementines, that was in season at the time.  It was outstanding!  Come to think of it, Valentine’s Day is not far away, and this would be a great meal for the occasion!

sliced22

ONE YEAR AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

TWO YEARS AGO: Weekend Pita Project

THREE YEARS AGO: Let it snow, let it snow, eggs in snow

OVEN-BROILED SALMON OVER SAUCY SPINACH

A lightning-fast dinner to prepare, your best friend on a busy weeknight! At first, I wanted to call it “Healthy Salmon Dinner” or something along those lines, but I am a bit tired of the constant labeling of recipes as “healthy” or “good for you.”  Anything can be good for you if approached the right way.   A slice of apple pie?  No problem.  A slice of apple pie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream drenched in caramel sauce, after a dinner of fried chicken with biscuits and gravy?  Well, not your best option, but if you do it only once in a blue moon, even that is not a crime!  Eat sensibly and enjoy your food…  ;-)

For this dish, I combined two different recipes, one from Fine Cooking, another  from Food and Wine. As you may have noticed, I cook often from both publications, love them!  Joining salmon, spinach, kalamatas, and raisins might seem like a stretch, but we were both swooning over our plates. Since a little starch never hurt anyone, I made some orzo perfumed with lemon zest as a side dish. Awesome dinner!

FIVE-SPICE GLAZED SALMON WITH WILTED SPINACH
(adapted from Fine Cooking & Food and Wine magazines)

4 salmon filets, skin on
1/4 cup honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1 + 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
3 bunches of spinach (16 to 18 oz)
1 shallot, diced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, halved or diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the honey, soy, and five-spice powder in a small bowl, mixing it all well. Put the pieces of salmon, skin side down, on a plate or baking dish just large enough to hold them side by side.  Pour the honey mixture over the salmon, flip them over, so that the skin is now up.   Let them sit in this honey glaze for 15 minutes as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Meanwhile, turn your oven broiler on.

Place a colander over a bowl or plate near your stove top. Pour a little water on a large non-stick skillet set on medium-high heat.  When the water is very hot, add half of the spinach leaves, and move them around quickly using tongs until they start to wilt.  Transfer them to the colander, and wilt the rest of the spinach leaves the same way. Add them to the colander, and wipe the skillet dry.

Start broiling the salmon.  Place the pieces skin side down on a baking dish lined with foil and slightly coated with a spray of olive oil to prevent sticking.  Brush the top of the salmon with a little of the honey glaze, saving the rest in a small bowl.  Total broiling time will be 5 to 6 minutes, depending on how thick your filets are, and how you like them cooked.

Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in the skillet, when the oil is very hot add the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the kalamata olives, the raisins, stir them all together for a minute or so. Add the spinach, toss around to warm up, squeeze a little lemon juice all over, and season with salt and pepper.  Remove the spinach mixture to a serving platter, add another squeeze of lemon juice to the honey glaze in the small bowl, add to the skillet over medium heat, until it bubbles and heats through.   Place the broiled salmon over the bed of spinach, drizzle with the honey marinade, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  You know those bags of baby spinach that sell in the grocery store for 4 bucks (or more), and you must cook at least two bags to feed you and your partner?  You don’t need those.  ;-)  Recently, a remark by  Rachael Ray in one of her shows perked my interest.  She said that those humble looking spinach bundles, tied together with a  nasty metal string, will work nicely in many preparations.

I got three of those – each for $1.30 – and was very pleased by how they wilted but kept some structure and a more intense taste than their organic baby cousins.   Simply use a large knife and cut them above the string very close to the leaves, to get rid of all the stem part (compost those, if you can).  Drop the leaves in a large bowl (or sink) full of water, swirl them around a few times, and dry in a salad spinner.  They are ready to use.

The salmon – my first time oven-broiling it, by the way – cooked to perfection, the honey in the marinade giving it that irresistible copper tone, and the spinach combined with the olives and raisins, raised the bar of this meal quite a bit.  If you are watching your carbs intake, you can always omit the orzo.

ONE YEAR AGO: Butterscotch Brownies

TWO YEARS AGO: Vegetable Autumn Soup

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

SALMON TACOS

I’ve always twisted my nose at seafood tacos, considering them an abnormality of the gastronomic world.  But,  life has its own way of teaching important lessons and during our stay in Los Angeles, we sampled some fish tacos that made me reconsider my opinions. What can I say? I loved them, as well as the particularly incredible array of tasty salsas that place has to offer.

Since we came back, I wanted to make some type of fish tacos at home, and this recipe that I adapted from Food and Wine magazine was a perfect starting point.
CHIPOTLE-RUBBED SALMON TACOS
(adapted from Food and Wine)

2 tablespoons yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pound skinless wild Alaskan salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 corn tortillas
Salt
1 Hass avocado, mashed with a squeeze of lime juice
salt and pepper
1 cup finelly shredded cabbage

for salsa:
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 ripe tomato, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small red onion, finely diced (optional)
1 + 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 + ½  teaspoons sugar
salt to taste

Prepare the salsa by mixing in a bowl the apple, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, and onion (if using).  Add the vinegar and sugar, season with salt, and reserve.  It can be prepared hours in advance to intensify the flavors.

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the lime juice, season with salt and pepper and reserve. In another small bowl, combine the chipotle powder with the orange zest and sugar. Rub each piece of salmon with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and then with the chipotle–orange zest mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat the tortillas either in a low oven, wrapped in foil, or on top of a flame (my method of choice), until they are softened and heated through.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan. Season the salmon with salt and grill over high heat until nicely browned and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Gently break each piece of salmon in half. Spread the mashed avocado on the warm tortillas and top with the salmon, Apple-Cucumber Salsa and the cabbage. Drizzle each taco with the lime yogurt and serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  This simple recipe is like a symphony of flavors – the salsa has it all: spicy, hot, sweet, the green apple is the key ingredient.  As to the cabbage, I’ve got a tip for you. If you love it in its raw state but the crunch factor seems a bit excessive,  put the shredded/julienned cabbage in a small bowl, add very hot or boiling water to cover, count to 5 seconds and quickly drain it, rinsing it with plenty of cold water.  This simple step softens it just enough, but won’t cook it. Perfect texture to top your tacos.

This type of meal is a favorite of ours: all the ingredients spread on the kitchen island, and we can enjoy them whichever way we like, very relaxed, very Summerish!
I sometimes go for a tortilla-less version, lighter but just as flavorful….

….but it’s nice to go for the full treatment with a bit of rice to round the meal

Whatever your preference, this meal is a winner!  If you are not sold on the idea of a fish taco, please, try this one, you will be very pleasantly surprised.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cinnamon-Turban Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

SIMPLY ELEGANT: SALMON CURRY

Here’s a very popular dish from the restaurant “Terra” in Napa Valley, another recipe from the “Secrets of Success” by Michael Bauer.

If you are looking for a dish to impress your friends, your in-laws,  or that special someone having dinner at your place for the first time… this is it! The kind of food that gives a pause of satisfaction after the first bite,  a meal that you’d expect from a first-rate restaurant, but instead… you made it yourself! … And it wasn’t even hard!  An impressive concoction that you can definitely bring to the table on a weeknight after a hard day at work…  A “Celebrate Wednesday” kind of deal.  ;-)

Everything in this dish is balanced, a contrast of flavors and textures:  the subtle heat of the curry, the freshness of the salad, the silkiness of the sauce on the  crunchiness of the cabbage and peanuts, and luscious salmon as the centerpiece!  It’s a  symphony for your tastebuds. Try it, and I’m sure you’ll make it again.

salmoncurryred

SALMON WITH THAI RED CURRY SAUCE and CABBAGE SALAD
(from Terra restaurant, recipe published in M. Bauer’s Secrets of Success)

(receita em portugues na segunda pagina)

for the curry sauce:
2 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp  ginger, minced
1 tsp coriander seeds, cracked
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used mild curry, from Penzey’s spices)
1 1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 1/2 tsp  paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
3 Tbs tomato puree
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1.5  Tbs  firmly packed brown sugar

for the cabbage salad:
2 cups very thinly sliced cabbage (red or green)
1/3 cup julienned cucumber
2 T fresh cilantro
2 T fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

4 pieces of Atlantic king salmon filet (6 oz each)
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

cooked white rice

Make the sauce… (you can make it the day before if you prefer)
Heat the oil and saute the garlic and ginger until it is just beginning to get golden. Remove the pan from the heat and add the coriander seeds, curry paste and powder, paprika, and ground cumin.  On low heat, saute for a couple of minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk, tomato puree, soy sauce, and brown sugar.  Increase the heat and bring it almost to boiling,  and then remove it from the heat.  Keep warm or gently reheat  if  it was refrigerated.  Sauces containing coconut milk should not be boiled, as they tend to separate.

Make the salad…
Mix the cabbage with all other ingredients in a large bowl.    Add the soy sauce and vinegar, toss well.  Reserve until serving. (I like to do it 30 minutes in advance, if possible).

Cook the salmon…
Brush the salmon fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill to your liking, but salmon is best cooked medium, for a thick filet about 4-5 minutes per side on a hot grill. You can also cook it on the stove, making sure it is still translucent in the center.

Assemble the dish….
Place rice in the center of the plate. Ladle 1/2 cup of sauce around it, place the salmon on top or next to it. Top each fillet with a tall mound of the cabbage. Sprinkle the sauce with roasted peanuts.

Enjoy the compliments!

(to print the recipe, click here.)

Comments: Please don’t be put off by the number of ingredients. This is a very simple dish to prepare, and if you want to make it even easier, get the sauce ready the day before.  It’s a good idea to make more than called for, because it is wonderful.   Try it on seared sea scallops,  on grilled shrimp, or even pork tenderloin, they all go quite well with it.

I have made this dish with red, green, and also with  napa cabbage.   In general, I am very fond of  napa cabbage, but  this dish calls for a little more  crunch, and Napa doesn’t deliver the same snap.  Try them all yourself, and pick your own favorite.

If I ever make it to Terra, I’m definitely ordering this dish!

proxima pagina: receita em portugues